Allergies and the influence of emotional factors

Stay healthy | 2019

What are allergies, in reality?

Allergies are a normal response of the immune system that identifies the intruder considered dangerous and triggers a series of defence mechanisms in order to eliminate it as soon as possible from our body.

How and to what extent are allergies influenced by emotional factors?

Chronic stress significantly affects the normal functioning of the immune system and can degenerate into various diseases and negative effects on the body, such as allergies.

The situations or the events that may be perceived by the body as a threat are called stressors. Such circumstances can be met during everyday life, in interaction with work colleagues, if the work environment proves to be unfavourable. In the case of children and adolescents, negative emotions may appear because of bulling or of the obligation to interact with a difficult teacher in the educational environment. Depending on their duration, stressors are considered to be acute (a few minutes to a few hours), subacute (the symptoms persist for less than a month) and chronic (which may occur over several years). Attention, however, that an acute stressor that causes repeated allergies may be a burden as big as and of the same intensity as that triggered by a chronic stressor.

Atopy is a trend of its own or hereditarily developed, usually occurring in the developmental stages in childhood or adolescence, to become sensitive, and to synthesize IgE-like antibodies in response to allergens exposure. Allergens are antigens that cause allergic reactions.

The human mind can create negative associations in situations where the body feels a trauma which originates in an experience related to certain food, smell or substance, and in the future it will trigger self-defence mechanisms in similar situations. Certain children have developed lactose intolerance because breastfeeding was perceived as being stressful by the foetus.

In recent years, many studies have shown a connection between the nervous, endocrine and immune systems. Psycho-neuroimmunology observes how stress modifies the normal functioning of the body, but also how the immune function suffers psychosocially induced changes.

Allergies cannot be cured, but the symptoms can be kept under control. Allergen immunotherapy (AIT) is an effective way to stop symptoms triggered by allergies by the systemic administration of a vaccine consisting of specific combinations of allergen extracts over an extended period of time, designed to modify the causal mechanisms of allergy.

Emotional factors have a strong impact on our health, which is why the full and effective management of emotions sets the foundation for the mind and body balance.

Mens sana in corpore sano.

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